When you have your first child, they are like your best friend. You’re very close and your child becomes comfortable and used to being the only child. All your attention is on him… until you get pregnant again.
As your pregnancy develops, there comes a point when your tummy is too big for your child to sit comfortably on your lap – but it’s okay because it’s still only you and him for now. However, as your due date approaches, you have no choice but to tell him that there will be a new addition to the family even though he is too little to understand.
And then the big day arrives. You give birth and for the first time, your child sleeps without you. You return home with another child in your arms but your first child is happy that mommy is home with a cute baby, unaware of the major changes that are about to happen in your relationship.
When it’s bedtime, your big child is confused and asks so many questions like “if the new baby sleeps with Mommy, what about me?” but being the big boy that he is, he decides to sleep with an aunt or someone else in the family. That closeness between the two of you changes, and that mommy guilt kicks in. You long to sleep with both of them but it’s just not possible, so you hope and pray that your big child doesn’t feel neglected. Fortunately, he is just an angel and likes his new sibling.
“That closeness between the two of you slips away slowly but surely, and that mommy guilt kicks in.”
Then a time comes when he wants to do the little things you used to do together, like sing or sit on your lap, but you are too tired or holding your newborn. Even if you try to spend time with him when the baby is sleeping, it just isn’t the same as it was before.
I never thought it would be this tough to have a second baby while the firstborn is still so young. You have to try by all means to be a good mother to both and do everything in your power to make sure that your first doesn’t feel neglected or unloved. Most importantly, you want to love all your children equally. It’s challenging, but we have to believe that mothers are made for this.
Make time for both of them and involve the big one in the little one’s activities. Allowing him to hold his little sister or brother helps develop a bond between them. When your baby is a little older, make their mealtimes together and even let him spoon-feed her, with your supervision. Make every moment count.
Yes, it isn’t easy, but these challenges are part of motherhood and if you handle them with sensitivity, there is a chance that your children will grow up to be very close. Believe in yourself, mommy! You’ve got this!
By Anna Mashianyane Shogole